Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Book Review: Soul Hunter

'Know this, Blood Angel. Your final mission was a failure. Your brothers are dead. We will wear their armor in battle against your False Emperor. And know this also, champion of the IX Legion. Twice now, the sons of the Night Hunter have seen you slain. Greet the afterlife within the warp knowing you were too weak to triumph over us, even once.'  Talos of the Night Lords

That one statement should give you a good sense of what Soul Hunter is about. This is the story of a legion that dates back 10,000 years to the Horus Heresy. The Night Lords are one of the original groups of space marines. Sadly they have lost their home world and are slowly dieing out because of it. Without a home world they have been forced to scavenge for armor and materials to continue fighting. This harsh existence leads to some interesting questions on the battlefield, do I dispatch him with my bolter or save the ammo for more worthy prey.

The story follows the VII Legion's Apothecary turned profit Talos. He is gifted or cursed with second sight and is never wrong. This puts him at odds with the rest of the legion and makes him a sought after commodity at the same time.

The thing that sets this story apart from other Space Marine books is the way Aaron Dembski-Bowden shows you the lives of his characters. We get to see the slow decent into madness caused by time in the warp. We get to meet the faceless people that live on the ship and get into their heads a little.  This aspect opens up the characters a little more and takes them from being mindless killing machines and allows them to become soldiers in a war doing what they have to do to survive.

The combat side of the book is pretty good though not as fever pitched as some of the other books. The battles are more skirmish level detail with a great Blood Angels/Space Hulk fight to show off a little close combat work. My favorite is the first ship boarding maneuver where the time is the key and you get to see just how depleted their resources really are.

I would definitely put this one on the short list of things to read.

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